Aussie swim team VS GB swim team - Who came out on top?
[caption id="attachment_2300" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="Image thanks to Daniel Coomber"][/caption] Both the Great Britain and Australian swimming teams were expected to win a stack of medals at London 2012, but both nations expectations were sadly unfulfilled. After their performances at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Britain's swimmers were expected to thrive on their home patch in London, but the team only managed to pick up three medals. The now retired Rebecca Adlington, who had won two golds four years previously, had to settle for just two bronze medals in London. Britain Swimming's best performance came in the men's 200m breaststroke, when Michael Jamieson won a silver medal. Britain Swimming performance director, Michael Scott, admitted to being "gutted" that Britain's swimmers didn't match the six medals they had won in Beijing, with the medal target for London being set at five to seven medals. David Sparkes, chief executive of British Swimming, was open to looking at inspiration from other sports, including Dave Brailsford, who has had the golden touch as performance director of Britain's cycling team. British Swimming head coach Dennis Pursley has already left to take up a coaching post at the University of Alabama, with Bill Furniss replacing him. The appointment was welcomed by Rebecca Adlington, who Furniss had coached since the beginning of her career. One positive from London was that the British swimming team has never had so many finalists in Olympic finals. Half of Britain's finalists also finished fourth or fifth in their events. Overall, in London, on 20 occasions a British swimmer finished between eighth and fourth, and that was apart from the three medals won. None of this however was enough to stop a £4m drop in swimming funding in the build-up to Rio in 2016. Australia is a traditionally strong swimming nation, but London saw their worst performance in an Olympics since the Barcelona Olympics of 1992. The Aussies won just one gold medal and ten medals overall. The perceived failure of the Australian swimming team has led to accusations of disharmony within the team in one review. Bluestone, the business consultants, released a damning review, which described incidents of bullying, drunkenness, ignoring curfews, deceit, and of prescription drugs being misused. The review criticised the overall standards and discipline of the Australian team, and said that were was also a lack of accountability. The review described London 2012 as the "lonely Games" as the Aussies were undermined by a combination of schoolboy behaviour, expectations that were too high, big egos, and a general lack of unity within the team. The leadership of the team came in for criticism, with the review saying that the strong and collective leadership that was required was sadly lacking. Though the review accepted that there had been few "truly grave" situations, there was an overall lack of action, due to a fear of upsetting preparation for the Games. The review condemned the amount of "culturally toxic incidents" within the Aussie team, and noted divisiveness. The men and women's team and inexperienced and experienced swimmers were not united, and the elite Australian swimmers were not helpful in unifying the team. The fallout from London 2012 has resulted in departures from Swimming Australia of several senior executives. Barclay Nettlefold, Swimming Australia's new president, said that he would be launching an 'integrity panel' that would come down hard on guilty individuals, and would involve fines, bans, or warnings. A second review of Swimming Australia's London performance was published by the Australian Sports Commission, but that didn't specifically name any individual swimmers guilty of bad behaviour. Six male members of the Australian 4x100 relay team did admit to using Stilnox, a sleeping medication. One of the six, James Magnussen, admitted that he took the medication because he felt under pressure. Both the relay team and Magnussen had disappointing performances in London. The United States dominated the swimming events in London, but Britain can feel a bit more optimistic than Australia looking forward to Rio with the respected Furniss as head coach. There also aren't, in the GB swimming team, internal problems on the scale of Australia's. The Aussies will have a difficult task turning things around over the next four years.